How We Partnered with MXXY’s Visionary Young Founders to Imagine & Launch An Active Lifestyle Brand

April 15, 2024

Fresh out of business school, Drew Dawson and Nicolas Belgum walked into Whipsaw one day with a big idea. They were avid bikers and were frustrated by the fact that you couldn't get the right mix of water and electrolytes while on the go, which is essential to maintain one’s highest performance. They had a vision of creating a dual chamber backpack that you could mix different ratios of water and supplement per your exact real time need. They instinctively knew that Design would be key to their success, and they were already big fans of Whipsaw, so they knew where to go.

MXXY V2 Flexx™ Designed By Whipsaw

Dan Harden, CEO of Whipsaw was there to greet them. “I remember that first meeting well. We thought it was an interesting idea, but more importantly these young guys were overflowing with passion and knowledge of the subject, which are vital ingredients for a startup to have. They were strapped for cash so we decided to take a piece of the company as partners instead, mostly because we believed in them”, said Dan.

Whipsaw has a long history of creating beautifully considered, user-centered, innovative solutions in any industry we touch. Often underlying the elegance of functional products like MXXY are Whipsaw’s creative and ingenious engineering design solutions. Whipsaw combines industrial design expertise with functional engineering to create finely crafted physical user experiences where the beauty goes beyond the exterior forms and finishes. It becomes holistic and seamless. This well-rounded approach was perfect for MXXY.

MXXY also needed good strategic design thinking, which included a go-to-market development plan. We realized it would be most prudent to get a GEN 1 product out fast in order to test its market viability. We quickly moved through our design process, including many iterative prototypes, especially around the valve mechanism which controlled the dual reservoir ratio. Operated remotely by a separate shoulder control dial, it was a perfect low-risk solution with low NRE costs that would get to market quickly and start generating revenue. This strategy worked.

MXXY V1 Hydration Pack Designed By Whipsaw

After a few years of revenue and invaluable feedback from pro users, MXXY returned to Whipsaw to design and develop the ultimate GEN 2 solution, called Flexx™. The aim was to improve everything, including the valve, ergonomics, sealing, cleanability and appearance. With the band back together, Drew and Nicolas stated their intent to be as ambitious as possible with the design and rely on Whipsaw's no-compromise reputation for creating disruptive design solutions.

We then embarked on a thorough development process including deep fluid dynamic analysis, materials research, modeling, prototyping, testing, and ultimately making adjustments throughout tooling and manufacturing.

As a result, Flexx™ is loaded with innovation. Core to the design is its ingenious valve. It consists of two rotary ceramic plates, tightly sandwiched together, each with corresponding holes where fluid flows through. It’s a multi-layered assembly, with the user control indicator facing the front, ceramic blending valve in the middle, and the ingress-egress fluid ports in the back exiting the top and bottom. It is easily disassembled for cleaning. The quick assemble/disassemble method is central to MXXY's ethos of championing user-driven design and being able to support users with replacement parts given the extreme use and intense environments pro athletes expect the system to perform in.

MXXY V2 Flexx™ Designed By Whipsaw
MXXY V2 Flexx™ Designed By Whipsaw

The dual reservoir bags are innovative too. They each have a leak-proof silicone zipper that is welded directly to the bag, which allows users to turn the bags inside out for thorough cleaning. The bags are translucent so you can see all contents. Pull tabs and all user affordances are highlighted with color.

MXXY set out to build a pioneering brand of innovative products that address the real immediate needs of athletes. For Whipsaw, MXXY has been the perfect project, starting with a great startup client and an untapped market potential. There was a need for thoughtful human factors, new materials, a trendy sporty appearance, and clever engineering. There was also the need for smart strategic planning and flawless execution, which are essential for any company to succeed.

“We were bringing something new to a historically stagnant space; not just through the product’s functionality, but through its look and feel. Whipsaw’s work was a perfect balance of elevated design and functionality; beautiful but meant to be used. It’s a big part of why we’ve been so aligned over the past few years.”

-Drew Dawson, CEO MXXY

The MXXY Flexx™ is now on the market and selling well. Customers are raving about its performance and quality, with remarks like:

“I am obsessed with this product. There’s something magic about having access to my hydration in one dial and not have to worry about bottles”

-Evelyn, Flexx™ customer

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